Environmental and Renewable Energy Innovation Potential Among the States: State Rankings
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States have increasingly been burdened with more policy responsibility in the past decade, especially policy involving energy and the environment. The Reagan administration's "new federalism" in the 1980's resulted in deregulation being the central focus. The federal government has pressured individual states to be accountable for their own policies and has expanded the states' role in policy decisions. "New federalism", for better or worse, demands that states turn inward for solutions to their social and economic problems, rather than turning to the federal government. Pertaining to environmental and energy policy, states have begun to take their own initiative in various ways. On the other hand, however, because of the lack of federal coercion, some states fall behind on progressive environmental and energy policies. The purpose of this paper is to create an index ranking the 50 states based on environmental innovation potential. In other words-this research describes the factors that contribute to a states' potential for environmental and energy innovation. This research is important first because there is no such scale of this kind measuring innovation potential. Also, it should give policy makers, government officials, and the general public an understanding of which states are the most prepared to innovate for the environment and energy. Lastly, it should clarify what objectives increase states' potential and ability to innovate for the environment and energy. This research found that California, Oregon, and Washington scores the highest and serve as the most innovative in the environment and energy sectors. Among the lowest scoring states are Kansas, Mississippi, and North Dakota. Also, preliminary results indicate that economic freedom is correlated with the index and should be explored.